Curative | The New Engagement


By Karen V. Garrison
Curative art




isn’t there an antidote

for life’s unfair illnesses

fatigue and blinding migraines 

an antidote

for back breaking stresses

future eating cancers


for life’s poisons

seeping from horse traders’ silver plated throats

for toxins

polluting ocean and farmland

or those you find

in the heads of deserting friends


isn’t there an antidote

for nature’s ruin

buried in melting arctic ice

pristine in every way but one

unprotected from penetrating sun

is there an antidote for broken hearts


when loss pierces the organ deeply

or a cure for losing hope

when the wind stops on the porch

dead still, with the worst of news

in a well worn cloak

where is the antidote


when ships leave safe harbors

for sands of blind violence 

delivering ignorance and mandates

where is the antidote for severed limbs

mass shootings, ramped up hate

where is the antidote for war with unsung hymns


or for a life long on living the nowhere blues

in skinny alleys and walk up flats

is there an antidote for the hunger

in a baby’s tiny belly

for fear in a prejudice man’s thunder

for glazed eyes escaping numbly


there has to be an antidote for 

unopened dreams

precious beneath the household dust

poetry coursing through electricians

behind responsibility, unseen

beaten by over-time resignation


surely there is an antidote

for accidental formulas of annihilation

exponential killing to keep the peace  

an antidote for fear mongering, political deceit

that creeps into your vulnerable soul 

suicidal nights loom longer and twist to bleak


is it my apology, my forgiveness, my permission

my knowing, my effort, god forbid -- my prison

my love, even deliberate, never seems enough

until we hear our own heart, can we mend the break. heal the world

she cries out to us in her ever quiet way

no message sounds until we say, i’m listening


“sit down with me. Replenish, renew

you are everything to me. i love you

have a cup of tea, wait in stillness, breathe

within you lies the antidote! i can tell you the formula...”

how many times will we interrupt -- too simplistic, we wail

how many times will we implore, it is hard to allow your love...


Until the Soul felt its worth





You play me like a guitar

In the lap of a nude

Born of picasso’s syncopated zeal

Split and mixed

Serious laughing eyes


We used to

Make breakfast, make love

Make heaven rain words

For hours on sunday morn

You would drench me in aphrodisiac ideas 

Then a nap came on like a drug

Under slanted sun, dreams touching sophia


I’m glad we do not

Repeat the past


I play you like the guitar in the lap

Of a bearded gent

On a country picnic

Monet monet

Making love to the resplendent day

Of violet


We used to stroll the path

Painting with conversation

Silver mist befalling dancing ladies on far hills

Sipping lattes, cool pampass grass undulating

Infatuated by nature’s geometry

Consumed by jasmine courting silence


You sing love

And only sing it


I want every breath to be

Wet with juice from the mother womb

New life swaddled in ordinary moment

I want love fresh in discovery


Like the baby’s eyes

Quivering with the engine of mystery

From a rising tide through my thighs

Effortless sluice of energy

Into your arms


Now the song is a dance

The pattern is remembrance


I’m clumsy with grace

Yet she dresses me

Leads me to the dance floor

A rumble under ground with each step

In this late hour, I stumble

Mischievous eyes meet mine


Yield secrets

Keep secret


Momentum of Miro desire

Michelangelo chisel of fire

Sears the tip of our tongues

In our hip pockets:

bouquets, pies and full body orgasm


Who are you tonight

What would you have me do

i feel solicitous

Novel in confidence

Magellan to the soup of you


No reverse

In a cascading universe


Play me like your guitar

In the lap of

Mona lisa’s




The Net


trapeze act

swing, dangle, laugh, reach

and be dropped

we miss the moment for holding

the hands outstretched

convolute our calculations


the fall has a certain sensation

name it what you choose 

freedom or terror


caught, looking up

from the safety net

a state of Love not designed for rest

from my ivy covered hiding place

i watch birds scrabble out of the nest


the whirl and mystery of flight

even in unsteadiness

must surpass all known delight

food and home

no one teaches the baby birds to fly

nor any artist


construct the guru from the inner junkyard

the heart, master architect

knows priceless salvage from discard


the ladder is always to the side

leading back to the platform

a magnet with rungs

ever within reach

for the hope in our lungs

its ladderness infinite


we suspect it a magic beanstalk

a dime, a fortune

for another try and another daring

leap into velocity and moving arms

higher and higher above the 

net of love

no longer visible to eyes 

our indentation, omnipresent relation

thrives in awareness

being held firm after the bounce

a drip of bliss on our lips

a powerful engine, a black hole


re-called by our soul

one day, one thousandth beginning

the absent limits of sky in aura bold


reveal intricacy 

a woven web above

a sheath of embrace

in all space

fear has no fall left in it


"My poems have been published in Poetry Today, The Battered Suitcase, New Verse News and Four by Twenty; a segment for Readers Write was in The Sun. I'm new at sixty; I'm thrilled to write; I'm encouraged by life even amid the haze, chaos and cacophony of illusion."

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Flash Fiction Contest
On May 1st, we announced the winners of our Flash Fiction Contest: Thomas Garcia (1st), Rick Krizman (2nd), and Rios de la Luz (3rd). Read more.

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It is with great pleasure that we announce the winner of The James Baldwin Literature Prize of $1,000 to Hafsa Musa. Read more.

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